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Justin Hibbard
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March 29, 2006

NASA to Launch VC Fund

Justin Hibbard

(Get it--launch?) ... The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, otherwise known as NASA, is the latest federal agency to set up a venture capital fund modeled after the Central Intelligence Agency's In-Q-Tel, which was created in 1999 to allow the CIA to invest small amounts of money in startups alongside private-sector VC firms and gain access to emerging technologies.

The startups, in turn, receive feedback from a sophisticated customer and sometimes win government contracts. The goal is to help young companies develop technologies that can be used by business as well as government. The U.S. Army has set up a similar program called OnPoint Technologies, and now NASA is starting Red Planet Capital, which will begin with an $11 million budget for investments and operations this year and grow to about $20 million per year. Red Planet's managers will seek to invest in early-stage startups that focus on the following:

* Innovative human enhancements for exploration
* Water recycling, reuse, and reduction
* In situ fabrication of replacement parts technology
* Environmental monitoring, control, and revitalization
* Communications and data systems
* Biomedical support for exploration missions

Like In-Q-Tel, Red Planet plans to partner and invest with private-sector VC firms. So expect to see this group making the rounds on Sand Hill Road.

02:10 PM

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Justin, that's a great post and your humorous detour is appreciated ;-)

Posted by: Daniel Nerezov at March 29, 2006 06:29 PM

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